Diving the Gunilda
At a depth of 80.8 meters (265 feet) along with Canada's stringent regulation of its underwater resources ensures that the Gunilda gets few visitors. The yacht, now protected as a Heritage Shipwreck, resisted attempts to raise her, and has since been explored by two submersibles, a hard-hat diver and few scuba divers, at least officially. The yacht sank after running up on McGarvey Shoal.
Only photos or video can be taken. Penetration inside the vessel is not permitted, and even silt is to be left undisturbed as a way of preserving the wreck. It is illegal and unethical to disturb this historic wreck or any of the artifacts that are part of or associated with the wreck. Local boaters keep an eye on the wreck location and will not hesitate to challenge individuals that are diving the wreck and will report suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.
Look but don't touch or take!
In 1996, the National Film Board, commissioned a film to be directed by award winning film director, Tim Southam. "Drowning in Dreams" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival ( TIFF) in September 1997 and later that year in Thunder Bay. Tim wrote, " Drowning in Dreams offered me an irresistible opportunity ....to explore the nature of obsession.....Fred Broennle was fixated with the Gunilda".
The Gunilda shipwreck is an important historical aspect of local lore in the Rossport area. This beautiful luxury steam-powered 195 ft yacht, ran aground and sank in August 1911.
In 1970 diving technology had progressed to the point that Thunder Bay salvager Fred Broennle and his friend, a NAUI certified dive master, Charles King Hague, set out to locate and dive on the Gunilda. Her general location was known as McGarvey Shoal as it is a well marked marine hazard, but exactly where she lay was not common knowledge.
August 8, 1970 while exploring, King Hague did not surface and Fred Broennle who had gone in search for him was rescued by King's wife Maria. Fred became committed to retrieving King's body, which he did in 1976 and to become further acquainted with the Gunilda. Years later a second diver would also lose his life.